pleasurepalate always tends toward going to new restaurants, but she can’t stop going back to Azeen’s Afghani.

Pakawra-e-badenjan is great: crispy batter-fried eggplant, topped with tangy yogurt and spicy tomato-meat sauce. It may seem strange, but yogurt, tomato, and meat marry beautifully. Buranee-e-kadu is sautéed butternut squash topped with the same yogurt and meat sauce. “The melding of flavors was really interesting for this dish,” says pleasurepalate. “You get sweet, meaty, tangy all in one bite.”

The dumplings are always worthwhile. Mantu dumplings have a filling of chopped beef, onion, and herbs, topped with yogurt and mixed vegetables; aushak dumplings are filled with leeks and scallions, and topped with that yogurt and meat sauce, with a little extra mint.

Gulpi—cauliflower stew with ginger, onions, and tomatoes—tastes very lively. Korma challaw is chunks of beef in a satisfying sauce of green pepper, onions, and tomatoes. And the chicken breast kebabs are moist and tender. Best of all, says Dommy, is the cardamom tea, served cold or hot.

In general, says pleasurepalate, the vegetable dishes are unbeatable. “Azeen’s really knows how to cook their vegetables. They always have a lot of great flavor to them.” Meat kebabs, on the other hand, are hit-or-miss.

Azeen’s Afghani Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
110 E. Union Street, Pasadena

Board Link: REVIEW w/ pics: Dinner at Azeen’s Afghani

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